IN the most crucial battle for a rebound, San Miguel Beer’s Terrence Watson failed. Miserably.
That was Sunday night.
The atmosphere was electric at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao. There were only ticks left in the Meralco-San Miguel Beer game.
The winner would soar to lofty heights, with the loser plummeting mercifully to the depths in the PBA Govenors’ Cup quarterfinals.
Meralco was up 102-101.
Allen Durham, Watson’s fellow import from Meralco, missed a tight, short stab.
I froze the next scene, seeing the ball floating in heart-stopping slow motion.
The game-winning board was there for the taking.
I saw Watson appearing, almost, to have the perfect place to grab it. Uncontested.
He was in the right place at the right time to use that worn-out cliché again.
But fate intervened.
What followed next was weird of insane proportion.
Instead of Watson swiping away the most important rebound of the night, Watson would see himself getting unbelievably boxed out by Durham and kissing the canvas on all fours.
Did Durham push Watson but the foul was not seen by the referees?
Or was it a time again of let-go, the sanctuary rule for the whistling men when time is expiring?
Let the players decide the game, not the referees.
In short, Durham duked the board and then put it back strong for the win 104-101, ensuring not only Meralco’s admirable advance but also securing the more important one-win advantage in the quarterfinals.
In a bizarre twist, SMB, its three-game winning streak broken, fell to sixth and needs two wins against Ginebra San Miguel to book a semifinal seat.
I did say Watson’s slot at SMB was on the line in the Meralco game. His measly effort of 18 points against Durham’s game-high 35 was more than enough reason for him to be sent home.
If Watson should play in the Beermen’s Game One clash on Wednesday against the Kings, that’s only because his replacement—is it Arizona Reid once again?—needs to dust off jet lag.
I bleed for Watson, who was on a three-game roll for SMB until that bungled board Sunday night.
You do good a lot of times, fine. One failure flogging you suddenly, goodbye.
Not really. It’s just the way things are. At times.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on September 26, 2017.
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